BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that the state is starting a $668 million program that will offer coronavirus relief grants of up to $75,000 to small businesses. The relief package will depend in part on the stimulus recently passed by Congress, and Baker is urging President Donald Trump to sign it into law.
Millions of dollars will start flowing to small businesses as soon as next week no matter what happens with the federal bill, Baker said.
"This money will go to restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that have been hit hard by COVID," Baker said. "These grants of up to $75,000, or three months of operating expenses, are designed to help small businesses pay employees, their rent, pay down debt, pay their utilities, and other costs of operation."
Trump on Tuesday suggested he may not sign the package passed by Congress and called for relief checks of $2,000.
"The program relies in part on President Trump signing the bill, because it creates some flexibility with respect to how we can use federal funds," Baker said. "We urge the President to sign this bill."
Eligible businesses in the state include restaurants, bars, caterers, indoor recreation and entertainment venues, gyms and fitness centers, professional event photographers and videographers and personal services like nail salons, barbershops and retailers.
Businesses must be able to document a loss of income as much as, or higher than, their grant request due to the pandemic," Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said.
Applications can be submitted at www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org
"As we work to suppress the virus, businesses need more help now," Polito said.
On Monday, Baker announced that 1,158 small businesses would be getting a total of $49 million in grants, out of over 10,000 that applied.
New restrictions on businesses are set to go into effect Saturday in Massachusetts. Most industries will be forced to reduce capacity to 25%.
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